Why Manchester United are desperate to sign Diogo Costa from FC Porto – Reuters


Manchester United have been blessed with world-class goalkeepers over the years, from Alex Stepney, Edwin Van Der Sar, Peter Schmeichel to current number one David de Gea who has been at the club since 2011.

However, times are ticking and so is football and David de Gea’s position as United’s number one under new manager Erik ten Hag has come under scrutiny. Ten Hag wants United to play a more progressive brand of football in which attacks start with the goalkeeper, meaning distribution is key, something the Spaniard has always struggled with.

With De Gea’s contract also expiring at the end of the season (although a one-year extension could be triggered), it may be time for United and Ten Hag to look for the next starter with the thankless task of to be United’s next number one.

No doubt one name at the top, if not top of the list, is FC Porto young star Diogo Costa, scouted by the club in recent weeks.

Costa is 23 years old and 6 feet 4 inches tall. Despite his young age for a goalkeeper, who usually tends to peak in his late 20s or early 30s, he has plenty of experience for both the Porto first team (45 caps ) and now for his national team of Portugal (7 caps). A first choice for club and country at such a young age is an impressive feat, certainly for a goalkeeper.

With modern goalkeepers now expected to be as good in the outfield as they are in traditional shot-stopping, Costa is no slouch in that department. He is in the top percentiles for passes attempted and for passes completed excluding goal kicks (stats provided by FBref.com), highlighting his ability to pick a teammate, recycle the ball and build attacks.

Also interestingly, he is again in the top percentiles across Europe for defensive actions outside the penalty area and for the average distance to goal those actions are. It shows that he is comfortable playing the modern role of ‘sweeping keeper’ which is so essential for a team to play on the front foot in modern football, as the backline must stay high but be safe. knowing that the keeper will be there to sweep the long balls over or through the gaps. Additionally, he’s just as comfortable collecting crosses, again placing relatively high on the list for those stats, showing a good range of decision-making.

By comparison, David de Gea is in the lowest percentile for all of these stats, highlighting the stark differences between their playing styles. Where De Gea excels is in shot-stopping, and that’s a stat the young Portuguese is trailing in. However, the Porto player is building a reputation for superb reflex saves, although he still has some way to go before he surpasses De Gea in this area. metric.

Statistics are all well and good, but they mean very little when they are not put into the context of tangible achievements.

As mentioned earlier, Costa is the first choice for Portuguese powerhouse FC Porto and is now the first-choice international goalkeeper for Portugal. To have that recorded alone at his age would be impressive, but he was integral to Porto’s league and cup victory last season, being voted the league’s best goalkeeper in the process.

He also had international success with the Portuguese Under-17s and Under-19s, winning the European Championship both times. After usurping Rio Patricio as the national goalkeeper, Costa put on a string of excellent performances and cemented his place in the national setup.

With achievements already to back up the stats, it’s clear that this young player has sublime talent and being thrust through the ranks at Porto is sure to instill a winning mentality. Reports have also highlighted a potential £60m release clause in his contract, meaning this could be a very attractive option for United and one they are looking to actively pursue.

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